Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | APRIL 14, 2014 5:00 AM

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Over the next few weeks, adults may be tempted to buy live rabbits to give children as Easter presents. A few months from now, unwanted rabbits will be relinquished to local animal shelters or worse, abandoned in parks and parking lots to fend for themselves. I ask that anyone considering buying a rabbit think about these important facts:

First, although rabbits make wonderful pets, they are more fragile than a dog or cat and generally don’t like to be held. An active child who expects a cuddly pet to chase and carry around can easily terrify or injure a rabbit.

Second, rabbits are a long-term commitment. A well cared-for rabbit should live as long as a large dog (six to 12 years) and will require just as much love, attention, and veterinary care as a dog or cat. Rabbits need daily exercise outside of a cage, and the rooms in which they exercise need to be bunny-proofed. Rabbits should also be spayed or neutered to help prevent undesirable behaviors such as urine spraying and aggression and to assist in litter box training.

Third, pet rabbits cannot be set free in the wild. They rarely live more than a few weeks and usually meet an unpleasant end by starvation, disease, or attack from predator animals.

Rabbits are entertaining, affectionate, and rewarding pets when given the time and resources they need. If you think you would enjoy a pet rabbit, please consider adopting from a rabbit-rescue group or animal shelter. If you want to make a child’s Easter happy, don’t give a live rabbit unless you know it will be loved and cared-for throughout its natural life. If there is any doubt, give a chocolate or toy bunny instead. For more information on rabbit care, visit the House Rabbit Society online at: www.rabbit.org.

Rachel Marek

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